English version follows
From 4 to the 10 last June the Shaka Surf Center in Torbole hosted a camp organized by the German magazine Surf foil for his readers with an exceptional instructor, Robby Naish (Naish Boards, Naish Sails, Red Bull, Quiksilver, Porsche).
There could be no better time to RIWmag to reach the Hawaiian world champion for an interview of all trades on the current state of his health after two accidents, on the latest news’ of its brand and its vision about windsurfing and foil.
Talking and’ turns out a Robby Naish always balanced and sincere and despite all the interviews made to him in all the years of his career to each response still always manages to give small and large truths’ that enrich and complete every time public awareness towards the sport of windsurfing.
"Ladies and gentlemen introducing the inimitable US-1111!
RIW: Dear Robby welcome back in Italy and on RIWmag! It's always a pleasure to see you and this pleasure is not only shared by RIWmag but also by all Italian windsurfers! The proof is the huge amount of Facebook posts on your last trip on Lake Garda!
But let's start from 1 step back. 2 years ago you had an injured pelvis after Bercy with the kite. 1 year after you brought a foot injury with kiting. Now we know you're completely cured, But recently, we saw less load on big waves and work harder on foil products.
CIO’ and’ only due to reduced wind that has blown or corresponds to a change in lifestyle still on windsurfing but more focused on the job?
Robby Naish: In fact this change and’ been caused by two incidents as the condition. Once back almost to 100% After breaking the pelvis with the kite, I got injured again. Fun, After all these years practically without injuries I did almost the same thing twice exactly a year apart during our photo shoots with the kite. In the second accident I broke my foot … that took almost more time to heal properly from the first injury. So I had to take it easy … no pressure on the footstraps for about more’ of six months. Then go on the foil and’ Obviously one way to get on the Board, stay in shape, but so easy for the feet. And’ was also a pleasure that we also had poor wind conditions for this long, so I didn't miss much in the way of good waves here in Maui. Now I'm back to 100% and I'm sure they're a little more careful … because I don't want to hurt me again!!!
RIW: After all these years, to our knowledge this is the first time we see you teach in a camp. Confirm? How did this project? And how you found yourself in a role of teacher so close to the public?
R.N.. : I used to do one to two camps a year when I was sponsored by German hotel chain “Robinson Club”. I did a few days in Egypt every year, and sometimes in Kos, in Greece. And’ was fun, but then I didn't’ the time and I had to stop doing that … I was too busy. But I really want to teach people to go on our foil … returning to the roots with simple equipment easy to lead. I want to bring people back to windsurfing with light wind. There are thousands and thousands of people who left the windsurfing … and I think our Hover boards Naish foil Thrust system and can get them back. Of course reading the magazines etc. You can’ think that the foil and’ a foil … but there is a big difference in our approach. Easy … Piccola vela, learning snack for those who are not necessarily the best windsurfers. Nothing big sails and high performance high performance foil that nobody can lead. So our camp was to introduce some people to our concept with the German Surf magazine. Went very well, and it was great for Lake Garda.
RIW: For a living legend and an icon like you, It can't be easy to walk in public in the spot of windsurfing as Torbole. Everybody knows you, everyone wants to get close to you and take a picture with you and maybe have it ends on autograph from you. For a short period of time per day must be nice, but all day might be tiring because you have no time to rest. Despite this show you always open, helpful and smiling and sul Garda you found time to windsurf with the youth team of the Circolo Surf Torbole. How you live your relationship with such a large group of fans around the world? (Everybody knows you but you don't know them by force all)
R.N.. : It's a real pleasure for me to see others who are enthusiastic of windsurfing … young and old. I'm doing this for a long time … and it's nice to see that people appreciate what I do yet. And’ was really nice to see the scene for windsurfing in Torbole. A lot of older surfers still out there enjoying this fantastic sport … But even young people like to Surf Club, out there who train with their coach. And’ was nice to see and super cool surf a little’ around them!!!
RIW: The foil is now applied to virtually all types of boards, windsurfing, kite, sup, Surf. Initially was designed to be able to glide in marginal conditions but now seems to be becoming a new niche specializing. What is the approach Naish on this concept and technology? Where do you think will bring the windsurfing? A new youth’ of the sport or is it just a new step in fashion marketing waiting for some forthcoming solution?
R.N.. :Certainly the trend in sports and’ the foiling … whether it's sailing, Kite and windsurfing. Like I said, I see this as a great opportunity to bring people to our sport. For every person who actively practice windsurfing today, There are dozens that have stopped. I want to bring these people to the sport. With our foil you can windsurf at home again now, When you have time, under normal conditions. This is an item that we lost with the windsurfing, because with the advance of sports equipment has become more and more powerful and more technical, fewer and fewer people were able to do it.
RIW: In recent years we have seen Naish sponsor less professional riders. Recently, Kai Lenny has taken another path and today the main international pro rider is Bernd Roediger. Certainly Bernd is a true water man full of talent but can you tell us more about why Kai Lenny left the team Naish after so many years (practically grew up under your wings) and what is the position of Naish on sponsorship of professional riders?
R.N.. : For me sponsor is the key for the professional side of any sport. But for Naish windsurfing, We simply become so small and the pro side of the PWA slowly became irrelevant to the average windsurfer, cosi’ We had to slow down slowly. I would like to have even more riders, but we need to sell more boards and sails to get it. With Kai, the roads are simply separated. It was not about money or equipment. Simply wanted the freedom to do what he wanted whenever he wanted … and all his other sponsors paid him just to do what he wanted. And now he gets paid very. Really did need Naish windsurfing equipment when we provided, kitesurfing equipment, Surfboards, Sup, foil etc.. In addition, We paid very well indeed. But in the end Tag Heur, Red Bull, Go Pro, Hurley, Nike have grown to the point where we were no longer’ so important to him … and we ended up discussing being the only sponsor that really needed him to do certain things, ride certain boards, etc. He wants to be a professional surfer who makes windsurfing, kite, foil etc. … no limits on his “creative freedom as an athlete”. I understand .... I understand, but this no longer worked for us. Nothing lasts forever, nor should. Life evolves and the money can change the way people look at the world. I would have handled it differently if I were Kai, but I'm not Kai. So now you can get the equipment from anyone … which is fine. For us there is no problem and I wish him well. No hard feelings exist on both sides. We had a great experience for many years supporting. They sure got released a while’ money to support as well as other riders, which isn't a bad thing.
RIW: This is an old topic, but in the end it is always current, every year almost all brands present new collections. In the recent past, there are a few brands that change their collections every 2 years: they say that in this way the products maintain their value a little’ longer. What is the philosophy of Naish about?
R.N.. : I'd like to do a two-year cycle … but in most markets simply doesn't work. We tried it in the past, and the cycle of the second year of the’ equipment has been a terrible year because you are selling “previous year's tables” When the boards of the year before all other brand is on sale at 30-40% discount. There's too much competition in our market, and at least on high quality products’ people seem to always want what is new. You can do this on some products, they'll try to do … but certainly not on most of the collection. If we were the only brand to manufacture this equipment might work … but not in an area where there is twice the product sales compared to customers who want to buy it.
RIW: Throughout your life you saw the good times and the difficult ones windsurfing sports. Where do you think we are now? How do you see the future? We will never be able, as a community, to bring the most popular windsurfing market at a level as in years ' 80?
R.N.. : We'll see. Not many spots have the conditions to use a 85 litres and a 5.0. This is a fact that will never change. So to grow the sport we need people to do windsurfing with 8-12 knots of wind and have fun … and not on tarpaulin 9,4 square meters and one meter wide boards. The foil will help’ Surely the future of our sport. Probably will never be what it was in the years ' 80 … We'll start to see again the surfers on the water … and also other equipment Naish … that is a great thing.
RIW: Dear Robby, Thanks again for your time and availability! We wish you all the best and hope to see you soon.
R.N.. : Aloha and thank you!
From 4 to 10 June the Shaka Surf Center in Torbole hosted a camp of foiling organized by the German magazine Surf for its readers with an exceptional instructor, Robby Naish.
There could not have been a better chance for RIWmag to reach the Hawaiian world champion for an all-round interview on the current situation of his health after two injuries, on the latest news from his brand and on his vision about windsurfing and foiling.
It came out a Robby Naish always balanced and sincere and despite all the interviews done in all the years of his career with every answer still today he is always able to give small and large truths that enrich and complete each time the awareness of the public towards the sport of boardsailing.
Ladies and gentlemen here is the inimitable US-1111!
RIW : Dear Robby welcome back to Italy and on RIWmag ! It’s always a pleasure to see you and this pleasure is not only shared by RIWmag but also by all Italian windsurfers ! The proof is the huge amount of facebook posts about your last trip on Garda Lake !
But let’s start from 1 step back. 2 years ago after Bercy you got a pelvis injury by kiting. 1 year later you got a foot injury again by kiting. Now we know you recovered completely but recently we saw you less charging big waves and more working on the foil products.
Was it due just because of less wind or does this correspond to a change of life style still riding but more focused on the work ?
Robby Naish : It was really both the injuries and the conditions. Once I got back to nearly 100% after breaking my pelvis kiting I got injured again. Funny, after all these years basically injury free I did almost the same thing twice exactly one year apart during our kite product photo shoots. The second one was breaking my foot … and this took almost longer to heal properly than the first injury. So I had to take it easy … no pressure in the footstraps for about six months plus. So foiling was of course a way to get on the water, stay fit, but be easy on my foot. It was also lucky that we had pretty shitty conditions this whole time as well, so I really did not miss much in terms of good waves here on Maui. I am back to 100%, and for sure being a bit more careful … as I do not want to get injured again!!!
RIW : After all the years we know you probably this is the first time we see you teaching in a camp. Is that true ? How did this project come out ? And how did you find yourself within a teacher role so close to the public ?
R.N.. : I used to do one to two camps per year when I was sponsored by the German hotel chain “Robinson Club.” I would do a few days in Egypt every year, and sometimes in Kos, Greece. It was fun, but I simply ran out of time and had to stop doing it for them … too busy. But I really want to educate people on our system of foil … going back to the roots with simply equipment that is easy to ride. I want to get people back to windsurfing in light winds. There are thousands and thousands of people who quit windsurfing … and I think our Naish Thrust foil system and Hover boards can being them back. Of course if you read the magazines etc you will think a foil is a foil is a foil … but there is a big difference on our approach. Easy … small sail, quick learning for those not necessarily the best windsurfers. Not crazy big sails and high performance high aspect foils that nobody can ride. So the clinic was to introduce some people to our concept with the German Surf Magazine. It went really well, and it was great for Garda Lake.
RIW : For a living legend and icon as you it must be not easy to walk on public on windsurfing locations as Torbole. Everybody knows you, everybody wants to approach you and to take a picture with you and maybe some autograph from you. For some short time a day it must be good but all day long it could be tiring as you do not have the time to rest. Despite this you always show to be open, available and smiling and on Grada Lake you found also the time to windsurf with the youth race team from the Circolo Surf Torbole. How do you live your relationship with such huge group of fans everytwhere around the world ? (They all know you but you do not know necessary all of them.)
R.N.. : It is such a pleasure for me to see other people that are stoked on windsurfing … both young and old. I have been doing this a long time now … and it is nice to see that people still appreciate what I do. It was really cool to see the scene in Torbole. Lots of older windsurfers still out there enjoying this awesome sport … but also young ones like with the Circolo Surf crew, out there training with their coach. It was great to see and super cool to sail a bit around them!!!
RIW : Foil is now applied basically to all type or boards, windsurfing, kite, sup, Surf. Initially it was born to be able to plane in marginal conditions but now it looks to become a new specializing niche. What is the Naish approach about this concept and technology ? Where do you think it will bring windsurfing ? To a new youth of the sport or is it just a new fashion marketing step waiting for some next solution ?
R.N.. : For sure the trend in water sport if foiling … be it sailing, kiting, sailing, or windsurfing. Like I said, I see this as a great opportunity to bring people back to our sport. For every person that actively windsurfs today, there are dozens that have stopped. I want to bring these people back to the sport. With our foils, you can now windsurf at home again, when you have time, in normal conditions. This is an element that we lost with windsurfing, because as the sport advanced, and the equipment became more and more high performance and more technical, fewer and fewer people were able to do it.
RIW : In the last years we saw Naish sponsoring less pro riders. Recently Kai Lenny took another way and today the main international pro rider is Bernd Roediger. Of course Bernd is a true genuine water man full of talent but can you tell us more about why Kai Lenny left the Naish team after so many years (basically he grew up under your wings) and what’s Naish position about sponsorizing pro riders ?
R.N.. : For me sponsoring is key to the professional side of any sport. But for Naish in windsurfing, we simply got so small and the pro side of the PWA slowly became so irrelevant to the average windsurfer, that we had to slowly back out. I would love to have more riders again, but we need so sell more boards and sails in order to do that. With Kai, we simply grew apart. It was not about money or the equipment. He simply wanted the freedom to do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted … and all of his other sponsors simply pay him to do whatever he wants. And they now pay him a lot. He really needed Naish when we provided him with windsurfing gear, kite gear, surfboards, Sup, foil etc etc. Plus we paid him really really well. But eventually the Tag Heur, Red Bull, Go Pro, Hurley, Nike money grew to the point where we were not so important to him … and we were butting heads being the only sponsor that actually needed him to do certain things, ride certain things etc. He wants to be a pro surfer that windsurfs, kites, foils etc … with no limitations on his “creative freedom as an athlete.” I get it … I understand, but this really did not work for us any more. Nothing lasts forever, nor should it. Life evolves. And money can change the way people look at the world. I would have handled it differently if I were Kai, but I am not Kai. So now he can get equipment from whoever he wants … which is fine. We are all good with it and I wish him well. No hard feelings exist on either side. We had a great run for many years supporting him. It for sure free’d up some money to support other riders now too, which is not a bad thing.
RIW : This is an old topic but finally always of actuality, every year almost all brands present new collections. In the last past there are few brands whcih change their collections each 2 years indeed : they say hat this way the bought products keep their value for a bit longer. What’s Naish philosofy about it ?
R.N.. : I would love to do a two year cycle … but in most markets it simply does not work. We tried it in the past, and the second year cycle of the gear was a terrible year because you are selling “last years board” when everyone else’s last years board is for sale at 30-40% off. There is too much competition in our industries, and at least on the high end side, people always seem to want what it new. You can do it on some products, which we will try do do … but certainly not on most of it. If we were the only brand making this stuff if would work … but not in an industry where there is twice as much product for sale as their are customers wanting to buy it.
RIW : Over all you life of windsurfing you saw the good times and the bad ones of this sport. Where do you think we are now ? How do you see the future ? Will we ever be able as community to bring the market back to some more popular level as back in the 80’s ?
R.N.. : We will see. Not many places have the conditions for riding an 85 liter board and a 5.0. That is a fact that will never change. So to grow the sport we need people out windsurfing in 8-12 knots of wind and having fun … and not on 9.4 square meter sails and one meter wide boards. Foils are certainly going to help the future of our sport. It will likely never be what it was in the 80’s … you will start to see windsurfers out on the water again … as well as more Naish gear … which is a great thing.
RIW : Dear Robby, thank you very much again for your time and availability ! We wish you all the best and let’s hope to meet you again soon.
R.N.. : Aloha and thanks!
photo: courtesy Naish
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